Pam Bondi takes on price gougers

Bondi price gouging

Attorney General Pam Bondi has declared war on price-gouging as Hurricane Irma continues its trek toward the state.

Bondi, who met with reporters Wednesday evening at her Tallahassee price-gouging call center, said staffers have logged roughly 1,500 complaints since she activated the state’s hotline at (866) 9-NO-SCAM on Monday. She also asked Floridians to report price-gouging by going to her website.

“State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities—such as food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment—needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency,” her office said in a press release earlier this week.

Most complaints are coming from South Florida over inflated costs for food, bottled water and ice, she said. Over 100 were on overpriced gasoline.

Bondi personally had chats with, among others, the world’s largest Internet-based retailer. “I’m losing my voice from calling all these people,” she said. Some examples:

American Airlines: After speaking with Bondi, the airline agreed to cap one-way flights out of South Florida at $99 and waive pet fees. This is despite the fact that Bondi doesn’t have jurisdiction over airline ticket prices; the federal government does.

— Delta Air Lines: That airline agreed to freeze Florida fares at no more than $399 and waive ticket change fees and pet fees. “I have a direct line to them,” she said.

— Home Depot: The home improvement chain, which set up a “command center” in Atlanta, agreed to freeze bottled water prices at $2.97 a case.

— Amazon: The Seattle-based company, after complaints of rampant price-gouging by third-party sellers, agreed to “manually scrub” inflated items from its website and suspended a dozen sellers for price-gouging. “I have Amazon on speed dial right now,” Bondi said.

State law allows Bondi to go after merchants who charge “unconscionable prices” with civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations in a 24-hour period.

“And I can also—and will—destroy their reputations,” she added.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected]


3 comments

  • Lisa Hagen

    September 6, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    It doesn’t help to get ready!!
    Don’t use Enterprise Car Rental. They have no heart! They canceled my reservations without explanation and would not give me a car even though they had them at the airport. I went to the airport and while debit cards are allowed at ALL THEIR OTHER locations, except the airport. Plus they were charging me $100 more than my reservation was for.
    I am left 4 blocks from an Evacuation Zone.
    I was on the phone with them fighting for a car and THEY NEVER SAID I NEEDED A CREDIT CARD. I brought a debit card like I ALWAYS did as a loyal customer.

    I’M NOT GOING TO DISNEY LAND! ITS A CATEGORY 4-5 HURRICANE- A State of Emergency

    The manager has a job but NO HEART!!!

  • Dan

    September 6, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Someone should call on Duke Energy, they have been gouging us by charging 25% more to their customers for 10 years.

  • Bryan

    September 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    She’s an economic illiterate. Higher prices based upon supply and demand encourage the flow of goods into the area. What’s better to have… temporarily higher prices that only a few will pay and that will be followed by a greater influx of supplies by people hoping to make a profit, or ZERO availability of anything in the mistaken fallacious economic notion that everybody is better off with prices being frozen? SMH Economic idiocy! Oh yeah, when water is frozen at $3/ case, then people load up. If it were $50/case then they would only take exactly what the thought would be the absolute minimum.

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Jesse Scheckner, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704